Aspen Skiing Co. housing too dense for Basalt
Dear Basalt Planning & Zoning Committee and Town Council members,
As property owners in Sopris Meadows (Willits), we are opposed to the revision of the previously approved Basalt master plan to allow for the development of Aspen Skiing Co. dormitory-style employee housing in Willits Town Center; it was never conceived for this type of density and spartan living conditions.
Density is a problem, and parking is a major issue. Has anyone really studied the projections for impacts on all public services, i.e., police/fire/schools/traffic control? We do not agree that this location is suitable for providing cramped housing, six persons per apartment, in what amounts to half of a closet for $500 a month per person in Willits.
Skico is asking to build something not in alignment with the community design allowing long-term living. Claiming this arrangement is for long-term residents is absurd, considering bedrooms are the size of a cage, sharing one living area by six unrelated employees. This serves for short-term living, such as in a dormitory situation, but does not foster long-term living. Skico intends to attract longer term residents in the building, which neither speaks to the needs of short-term employees, nor to the vision of the original master plan for our community into which we and our neighbors are invested. The design of the building without elevators is prohibitive to those with disabilities (ADA), medical emergencies, and health issues where using the stairs could be a severe issue of access. There is serious lack of any parking, except for the approved on-street parking adjacent to the arts and entertainment complex, which takes precedence for ongoing public venues.
Taking away the retail component (a full one-third of the total square footage of proposed building) does not provide vitality to the commercial core, but rather detracts from the original planned concept. There will be a need for more shops and eating establishments to fill in as the mid valley grows, if Skico intends to make this a long-term rental option. Although the current businesses have signed a petition saying they do not want more commercial, we as consumers see it differently and welcome the expansion of commercial services we have in Willits.
In closing, we believe adequate affordable housing is an important component of Basalt; however, this scheme requires major re-evaluation and modification to be acceptable, and to meet the needs of our community while maintaining the integrity of the original intent of the Basalt/ Willits master plans.
Bob and Terri Ziets
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